August 30, 2010

Junior college defensive tackle names top five

Maurice Couch has a top five.

The 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive tackle from Garden City (Kan.) Community College even has a top two.

However, the Orlando, Fla., native is in no hurry to make a decision. Instead, after waiting two seasons to fulfill his dream of playing major-college football, Couch is going to make sure he takes his visits and makes the right call.

Couch said Sunday night Kansas and Southern Cal are "neck and neck," though he admitted the Jayhawks are "probably my No. 1."

Those two schools don't enjoy huge leads over the remainder of his top schools.

"I've got Ole Miss as my third school," Couch said. "It's between them and South Carolina. I'm going to take my five visits. I'm still fairly open."

Couch said he plans to visit Kansas, USC, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Tennessee this fall and winter before making a decision prior to February's National Signing Day.

"I'm going to look at the environment, the academics and I love having relationships with coaches," Couch said. "That's big, and I'll look at the guys I'll have around me once I get there."

Couch said he has enjoyed getting to know Ole Miss defensive line coach Terry Price during the recruiting process. His interest in Price and the Rebels has been piqued, Couch said, by conversations he's had with Michigan linebacker Mike Jones, who was recruited by Price before signing with the Wolverines in 2009.

"I always talk to (Jones) about schools and he always tells me to keep Ole Miss at one of my top schools," Couch said. "When (Couch and Price) talk, it's not always just about football. I love football, but that's not something I want to talk about all the time."

On the field, Couch started his final season at Garden City with a strong performance in a 35-23 win over Northeast Oklahoma A&M Saturday. Couch said the junior college experience has helped him as a football player as well as off the field.

"Conditioning-wise, I'm much faster," Couch said. "I've learned more techniques. I'm more mature as far as playing.

"It kind of hurt me knowing I couldn't go to a big school after high school. I came here and thing were lovely. Coming to Garden City was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I enjoy everything."

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